Sign In
Landline phone in an office setting - BOI Payment Acceptance (BOIPA)

How to Take Card Payments Over the Phone

In the changing world we are now living in consumers are looking for alternatives. Alternative ways to shop sometimes require alternative ways to pay. In the past many businesses offered over the phone payments as a seldom used alternative option alongside traditional chip and pin or contactless methods, however, today many businesses are relying on taking payments over the phone  almost exclusively to allow them to keep servicing their customers.

Being able to take card payments, face to face or over the phone, is more straight forward than you might think, and might just be the perfect solution to help you keep your business trading in these uncertain times.

Here we will explore the basics of taking card payments over the phone and will answer all of the frequently asked questions

Can you take payment over the phone?

Yes – many businesses across the country take payments over the phone every day.

Taking payments over the phone requires a safe and secure facility to do so, such as BOIPA’s Virtual Terminal or Mail Order / Telephone Order (MOTO) functionality on your card terminal.

Why take payments over the phone?

Flexibility – customers appreciate having various payment options available to them. It makes paying a more seamless and convenient customer experience.

Adaptability – having the ability to take payments over the phone allows your business to offer delivery or click and collect options. These options help a business differentiate themselves from competitors but also allow the business to continue trading in unforeseen circumstances such as we are now facing.

Accessibility – accepting over the phone payments allows your business to serve a greater geographic area, it can allow your business to offer delivery of products to a larger area as customers are not required to enter the business to pay for their goods or services.

Virtual Terminal

In order to take over the phone payments a business needs a phone to take the card details from the customer, and a secure online web portal to input the card details to process the payment. This is a Virtual Terminal.

In simple terms, a virtual terminal is a secure web form, that can be used on a laptop or tablet, which allows a merchant to enter card details and processes payments while talking to the customer over the phone. Payments can be taken anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection.Once the payment is complete, the merchant can provide confirmation of the payment to the merchant in real time.

BOIPA’s Virtual Terminal also has link to pay functionality which allows businesses to collect payment via email. A custom link is sent to a customer who clicks it and enters their details to make a payment. It is quick and easy, reducing time that would be spent chasing payments.

Card Machines

Card machines can also allow a merchant to take a payment over the phone – subject to being approved by the merchant service provider to use this functionality. Similarly to using a Virtual Terminal, a merchant would need to manually type the customers card number, expiry date and CVV code (3 digit code on the back of the card) into the terminal, while on the phone with the customer, to process the payment. It is a very simple and straight forward process. While using MOTO functionality on a card terminal might be acceptable for taking adhoc payments over the phone it is generally less suitable for managing a higher frequency of phone payments as you would be preventing the card terminal from being used to process face-to-face payments.

Is it safe to take card payments over the phone

Yes, taking card payments over the phone is safe, provided the merchant follows the correct security procedures and phone payment regulations. These will all be explained to a business before they start taking over the phone payments.

Taking payments over the phone is safe and convenient for both the business and the customer when carried out in a responsible manner.

Regulations for phone payments

Merchants need to follow PCI DSS compliance in relation to accepting, storing, processing and transmitting cardholder data during card transactions. Some merchant services providers charge fees for PCI DSS compliance, however as BOIPA is committed to having no hidden charges and there is no PCI fee to merchants.

Tips for safely taking payments over the phone

Some of our top tips include:

  • Never write down or store card numbers or security codes.
  • Set-up each of your staff members that will be using your Virtual Terminal with separate user accounts so in the event of a query arising you can identify who has processed each transaction.
  • Encourage your staff to be vigilant. If anything seems strange about a payment they should flag it with you or contact their merchant services support team before processing the order.


How much does it cost to take payments over the phone?

This varies between providers. Some providers charge minimum monthly fees, percentage fees, transaction fees, PCI DSS compliance fees and many more hidden fees. They can all add up to a significant charge each month. As BOIPA does not charge any hidden fees you simply pay the monthly Virtual Terminal rental fee and then a transaction fee on any sales.

Benefits of over the phone payments

The key benefits of accepting payments over the phone include:

  • Your business becomes accessible to more consumers
  • The business can sell to customers in a variety of ways, including click & collect or delivery options
  • Over the phone payments are suitable for a wide range of businesses
  • Taking payments over the phone is simple, safe and secure


Start taking phone payments today

If you think your business could benefit from taking payments over the phone, get in touch with us today by filling in the form below and we will contact you to discuss the best option for your business.

BOIPA will have your business ready to take payments over the phone in no time at all!


Get a free quote


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.